June 26th, 2009
Have you ever sold products or raised capital over the phone? What you realize quickly is that, if you don’t grab the listener’s attention in 15 seconds, you fail. As you dial each successive number, you iteratively tailor the pitch until it works.
This is the essence of branding — yet, so few executives draw that association. Imagine that every viewer of your Website will “hang up” if your brand fails to grab him in 15 seconds. That’s exactly what happens. Brand matters.
In previous articles, I’ve posited that nebulous brands confine their owners to the white noise of me-too competition. Nowhere is a weak brand more obvious than on a company’s Website. How a CEO can incur the expense of designing, posting, and maintaining a site that doesn’t clearly and quickly (in 15 seconds) convey his company’s brand — like a well-honed telephone pitch — is a mystery to me.
Many executives tell me, to my surprise, that they place little priority on their Websites — choosing instead to confer on their salespeople the job of branding. Huge mistake. Salespeople can’t brand, and it’s not their job to try.
Here’s an idea: If you don’t view your Website as the chief branding platform, delete it. Why not?
But, before deleting (or deprioritizing) your site, remember this: Prior to a sales meeting, the prospect looks at the vendor’s Website to: 1) assess its ability to articulate a value proposition, 2) verify that its marketing and sales orgs are in-sync. If the site’s brand messaging is murky or impossible to decipher in 15 seconds, the prospect worries that the meeting will take too much of his time.
To use a horse & cart analogy: brand always pulls the revenue cart. Never, as they say, put the cart before the horse. How often do companies subordinate their brands to other revenue-acceleration activities, like SEO/SEM and hiring more salespeople? Answer: all the time. Backwards priorities.
Rx from The WhiteNoise Doctor™
The #1 priority, in every economy — especially a recession — is to feed, water, groom, and exercise your branding horse, so that it will pull your revenue cart.
Putting the cart before the horse always fails — in every situation and venue. Where is your horse?
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2009 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.